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Thursday, March 27, 2008

EU treaty-here to stay

Wonder what's happening to our new and shiny EU Treaty? Here's a resume of its march across Europe.

French lawmakers approve EU Treaty, Slovakia postpones again

8 February 2008

Three years after French citizens said 'no' to the European constitution, French MPs and senators on Thursday voted to adopt the EU's new 'Reform Treaty'. Meanwhile, the Slovakian parliament indefinitely postponed a vote on its ratification amid wrangling in parliament.

Thus far, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Malta have already ratified the treaty. All four did so by parliamentary vote (see EurActiv 18/12/07, 30/01/08, 05/02/08).

French approval of the Lisbon Treatyexternal is seen as crucial to restore the country's European reputation after the French people rejected the European Constitution - written by former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing - in 2005.

Legislators in the French National Assembly approved the law by a comfortable margin of 336 against 52. Out of 320 senators, 265 gave their backing.

The treaty's backers were led by President Sarkozy's conservative UMP party, which holds a strong parliamentary majority. The opposition Socialists, who were split during the failed 2005 referendum, were once again divided: 121 supported ratification, but 25 rejected it amid 59 abstentions. The Communists as a whole voted against the treaty.

"Nobody's hiding," the source said, admitting however that the parliamentary ratification route chosen by France was "less dramatic" than a referendum.

Meanwhile, in Slovakia, opposition lawmakers were not present in the chamber at the time of a scheduled vote on the new EU treaty in protest at a proposed new media law, leaving the ruling parties five votes short of the majority needed to approve the treaty (see Euractiv 05/02/08).

In a separate development, the Portuguese parliament rejected a demand from four parties that the new treaty be ratified by referendum. source

My comment: According to here :Ratification will become official on 14 February following its publication in the official journal, according to AFP, citing Sarkozy's office. God Speed dear! Here you can have fun with French Secretary of State excusing for Sarkozy's big ego :)

Romania ratifies EU Treaty as France moves to follow

5 February 2008

Romania has ratified the Treaty of Lisbon by parliamentary vote after a huge majority of MPs approved the text yesterday (4 February). Meanwhile, France's parliament approved a constitutional amendment necessary to begin the ratification process of the treaty itself.

Romanian MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying the new EU Treatyexternal , with 387 votes cast in its support and just one against. The country's Foreign Ministry said the decision "confirms Romania's commitment to advancing the European project."

Romania becomes the fourth member state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, with Slovakia and France hoping to follow suit later this week. Hungary, Slovenia and Malta have already approved the text, all three doing so by parliamentary vote. President Barroso said he hoped that other member states would "quickly follow the lead given by the four countries that have now approved the treaty."

Meanwhile, France has taken a significant step towards ratification after a parliamentary congress voted massively in favour of deleting a reference to the doomed treaty rejected by popular referendum in 2005 from its own constitution. The draft amendmentexternal was adopted by a majority of 560 of the 741 votes cast at the special meeting of MPs and senators convened yesterday in Versailles. source

Slovakia to hold EU Treaty vote amid opposition protest

5 February 2008

Slovakia's parliament is scheduled to vote on the Treaty of Lisbon on Thursday (February 7) after ratification was postponed for the second time last week in the wake of opposition protests over a media bill introduced by the ruling coalition.

Opposition parties have said that they will not approve the new treatyexternal unless the government withdraws or substantially amends the controversial draft. But an opposition bid to postpone the vote indefinitely failed after it was tentatively rearranged for 7 February.

The government ran into difficulties regarding the scheduling of the vote after the opposition linked the issue to the media bill. SDKU-DS (Christian Democrat) Vice-Chair Iveta Radicova claimed that the government's proposed Press Act does not respect the clauses protecting freedom of speech and access to verifiable information contained in the Treaty of Lisbon.

Despite these objections, two of the three centre-right opposition parties clearly back the treaty itself and insist they do not wish to undermine its ratification. They have indicated they will approve the text once the government has redrafted the media bill.

The dispute arose after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) strongly criticised the draft media bill. In a letter addressed to Mr Kubis, the OSCE warned the proposed legislation would "severely restrict" press freedom. Culture Minister Marek Mandaric has defended the bill, describing it is "standard European legislation". source

Slovenia and Malta ratify EU treaty

30 January 2008

Slovenia and Malta have become the latest countries to ratify the new EU Treaty agreed upon by EU leaders in December last year.

The two countries ratified the Treaty of Lisbon via their national parliaments yesterday (29 January), joining Hungary on the list of member states to have approved the text so far. All three have done so by parliamentary vote.

Slovenia's early approval of the treaty is seen as particularly significant given that the country of two million inhabitants currently holds the EU's rotating Council presidency. A large majority of parliamentarians supported the text, with 74 voting in its favour and just six against.

Congratulating Slovenia, Commission President José Manuel Barroso described the vote as an "expression of Slovenian support for a more effective, democratic, transparent and stronger European Union". He added that it was an "encouraging and positive signal" that the holder of the EU presidency was among the first countries to approve the text.

Meanwhile, Maltese MPs unanimously approved a motion to ratify the treaty put forward by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, with government and opposition parties united in support of the text largely due to its provision of an extra MEP for the island.

Due to constitutional obligations, Ireland is currently the only country heading for a referendum on the text, with the popular vote expected to take place in June this year. However, pressure on the UK gove\rnment to put the new treaty to a referendum has been growing ever since it was signed by EU leaders in Lisbon at the end of 2007 . source

UK Parliament ups pressure on EU Treaty referendum

21 January 2008

Rebel Labour MPs are expected to join forces with the Conservatives today (21 January) in a bid to force through a referendum on the new EU Reform Treaty, after a report by the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee concluded that the text is the same as the abandoned EU Constitution.

A group of 19 Labour MPs are planning to table an amendment calling for a referendum on the EU Treaty, which UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed last month along with the 26 other EU heads of state and government.

The move comes as the bill on the treaty's ratification begins its passage through Parliament with a second reading debate in the Commons. Six weeks of explosive Parliamentary debate are then expected to follow before the final vote takes place in March.

The case for a referendum was further strengthened yesterday (20 January) with the publication of a report by the House of Commons' Labour-dominated Foreign Affairs Committee, which claims that the British government is misleading the public by playing down the significance of new institutions, such as the creation of a new full-time EU President and foreign affairs chief.

But members of Brown's government continued to defend the Treaty as a "good deal" for Britain, with Foreign Secretary David Miliband stressing: "The Reform Treaty gives Britain a bigger voice in Europe and enshrines children's rights for the first time." source

My comment: Other article said they actually decided against referendum. And I don't really don't understand what's their problem with EU. British Empire is over and done. Get over it!

Portugal rules out referendum on EU Treaty

10 January 2008

With Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates changing his stance on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, it appears highly likely that Ireland will be the only country to hold a referendum on the issue.

"A referendum in Portugal would jeopardise, without any reason to do so, the full legitimacy of the ratification by national parliaments that is taking place in all the other European countries," the Portuguese prime minister told members of the national parliament on 9 January 2008, ruling out the possibility of consulting the people directly on the ratification of the new EU Treaty.

According to press sources, Sócrates gave up on his electoral promise, made in 2005, to hold a referendum on the EU constitution following pressure from French president Nicolas Sarkozy and UK prime minister Gordon Brown. German chancellor Angela Merkel was also consulted on the issue, the reports said.

Sócrates argued that his electoral promise no longer applied as the context has since changed and the new treaty only amends previous ones.

The change in Portugal's stance means that Ireland, which is bound by its constitution to hold a referendum on the issue, may well be the only country to hold a popular vote and thus decide the fate of the Lisbon Treaty. source

My comment: I find it really sad that the new constitution won't be chosen by the people but by their governments. I love it, I love EU and I find it upsetting that our European brothers and sisters fail to understand my enthusiasm and they have to accept the Treaty the forceful way. Well, let's hope that eventually the mistrust and xenophobia will fade away and love will find its way.

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